Eragon: the movie

 
Anyway, right, we went to see this movie. How can a movie with Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons and Djimon Hounsou be bad?
 
Well, I’ll tell you.
 
Okay, first of all, it wasn’t original. Teenagers have lots of great ideas, and very colourful imaginations, but they’re derivative. They’re built out of things that already exist, altered slightly based on what said teenager prefers. Given time (which this story was not), these alterations become more dominant, and the derivative ideas become more original, the imagination behind them more developed.
 
I could go into great detail about how all ideas are derivative, how they all come from combinations of other things and there isn’t a totally new creative concept under the sun, but we don’t have time for that. So let me just say that this story could have stood out from the crowd as more than just the hyped-up creation of a boy prodigy, but it didn’t, because it was prematurely ejaculated into the general public’s face like the embarrassing teenage byproduct it is.
 
There is so much Star Wars and Dragonheart in this, there’s no room for anything else. I’d say there’s a bit of Willow in there too, but that might be a stretch, and the author himself lists The Dragonriders of Pern as an inspiration, go figure. A lot of people are saying there’s a lot of Lord of the Rings too, but that’s hardly fair. Any fantasy story will be judged on Tolkien’s classic, and any blockbuster fantasy movie will be judged on Jackson’s work.
 
But Star Wars: boy howdy. Is there ever.
 
I mean, look.
 
Once upon a time there was an ancient order of peacekeeping warriors, the Jedi. They turned against one another, and were betrayed and killed off by a dark Jedi, who became emperor. Many years passed and the Jedi were forgotten. Luke is an orphan boy living with his uncle on a simple country farm. He seems destined for a life of simple toil, although he longs for adventure. One day, a princess on the run from the evil emperor, holding a valuable weapon she managed to steal from under his nose and pursued by the emperor’s terrifying undead henchman, sends the stolen weapon to a place of safety, and Luke accidentally stumbles on it. The weapon, in this case R2-D2, draws Luke towards Old Ben Kenobi, a loner with a haunted past who everybody thinks is a bit of a fool, but who turns out to be a great, grizzled warrior. He gives Luke a special sword, and it turns out that he was once a Jedi, a mythical order of invincible peacekeepers who helped run things in the good old days. Luke begins his training as they begin a perilous journey to a place of safety among the rebel alliance, which they manage with the help of an untrustworthy scoundrel with a heart of gold. The rebel princess is captured and the gang go to rescue her, and Obi Wan dies in the process, at the hands of the scary undead henchman. They rejoin the rebels, Luke saves the day in a big fight against the empire and the undead henchman, who he manages to defeat – or at least seems to. Han, at first not trusted by the rebels, also helps save the day, and is accepted. The emperor is defeated and furious.
 
Now let’s see how easily I can explain the plot of Eragon, changing only the proper nouns.
 
Once upon a time there was an ancient order of peacekeeping warriors, the Dragonriders. They turned against one another, and were betrayed and killed off by a dark Dragonrider, who became emperor. Many years passed and the Dragonriders were forgotten. Eragon is an orphan boy living with his uncle on a simple country farm. He seems destined for a life of simple toil, although he longs for adventure. One day, a princess on the run from the evil emperor, holding a valuable weapon she managed to steal from under his nose and pursued by the emperor’s terrifying undead henchman, sends the stolen weapon to a place of safety, and Eragon accidentally stumbles on it. The weapon, in this case Saphira, draws Eragon to Brom, a loner with a haunted past who everybody thinks is a bit of a fool, but who turns out to be a great, grizzled warrior. He gives Eragon a special sword, and it turns out that he was once a Dragonrider, a mythical order of invincible peacekeepers who helped run things in the good old days. Eragon begins his training as they begin a perilous journey to a place of safety among the rebel alliance, which they manage with the help of an untrustworthy scoundrel with a heart of gold. The rebel princess is captured and the gang go to rescue her, and Brom dies in the process, at the hands of the scary undead henchman. They rejoin the rebels, Eragon saves the day in a big fight against the empire and the undead henchman, who he manages to defeat – or at least seems to. Murtagh, at first not trusted by the rebels, also helps save the day, and is accepted. The emperor is defeated and furious.
 
Come on!
 
What else sucked? The dialogue. It was awful. Not even great actors like Irons and Malkovich could get through it intact, and Carlyle was just wasted as Darth, I mean whoeverthefuck. It wasn’t quite as bad as the dialogue in Episode Three, but it was a very, very close call. There are a lot of elements in the story that are interesting, I just wish they’d had more of a chance to shine. Everything crappy in the movie glared because of the overall background of crapness, and everything good was too undeveloped to stand firm against the crap tsunami. Oh, and the bad guys were ludicrous. Maybe I’ve been reading too much George RR Martin, but Dark Lords are such a thing of the past. The author could have benefitted from reading the Evil Overlords’ List once or twice.
 
What was good? The zombie assassins were interesting, and at least partially original. The CGI dragon was neat, I can never say no to BSTs and dragon fights. I do wonder how the rebels managed to make that armour for her in one night, and then when she put it on it was a different set of armour altogether, but oh well. The problem is, the real metal armour was excitingly etched and carved, and the CGI armour had to be smooth because it would probably be too expensive to put the etching in. Is that what happened?
 
If you like big explosions and dragon fights, see this on the big screen if you still can. Otherwise, wait for DVD. Or don’t bother seeing it at all. It was a fun enough movie, but Dragonheart was much better, and the plot was Episode Four. All in all, I wasn’t surprised by this film. The script and plot and general flow of the thing bore out the opinion I formed after reading a few pages of the book. I’m going to need a really, really good reason to see the second movie, much less read either of the books.
 
And that’s sad, because judging by the improvements seen in the few short years between book one and book two (again, going on what I have heard, not personal knowledge), the third book and the entire trilogy could have been awesome.
 
 
 
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4 Responses to Eragon: the movie

  1. ilya says:

    So basically, the movie sucked?

  2. Hatboy says:

    Sucked, blew, bit and blew again. And not in a good way. But a good little bit of entertainment. I think the reviewer who said "if you’re a 9-year-old kid, you’ll find this enchanting and original" had it right.
     
    Go see it if you feel like being a bit of a snob, and groan at all the bad bits. Oh yes, I forgot. It also had a narration at the beginning, when it really didn’t need one.
     
    *girl runs through woods*
     
    Narrator: a girl runs through the woods.
     
    *kid gets out of bed and walks out of house, with a bow and arrow*
     
    Narrator: Elsewhere, a young boy goes hunting.
     
     
     
    Shit, you reckon?

  3. Pingback: Four Movies and a Giant Turd Pretending to be a Movie: A Review | Hatboy's Hatstand

  4. Pingback: Interlude: Mortal Engines (a review) | Hatboy's Hatstand

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